25 Again? How Exercise May Fight Aging – By Gretchen Reynolds -The New York Times

“Regular exercise throughout adulthood may protect our muscles against age-related loss and damage later, according to an interesting new study of lifelong athletes and their thighs. The study finds that active older men’s muscles resemble, at a cellular level, those of 25-year-olds and weather inflammatory damage much better than the muscles of sedentary older people.

The study also raises some cautionary questions about whether waiting until middle age or later to start exercising might prove to be challenging for the lifelong health of our muscles.

Physical aging is a complicated and enigmatic process, as any of us who are living and experiencing it know. Precipitated by little-understood changes in the workings of our cells and physiological systems, it proceeds in stuttering fits and starts, affecting some people and body parts earlier or more noticeably than others.

Muscles are among the body parts most vulnerable to time. Almost all of us begin losing some muscle mass and strength by early middle age, with the process accelerating as the decades pass. While the full causes for this decline remain unknown, most aging researchers agree that a subtle, age-related rise in inflammation throughout our bodies plays a role.”

Is It Harder to Lose Weight When You’re Older? – The New York Times

“Q. Is it more difficult for an older person to lose weight?

A. Yes, unfortunately. Although it is possible to lose weight at any age, several factors make it harder to lose weight with age.

Even those who remain active lose muscle mass every decade beginning in their 30s, research suggests, replacing it with fat. Muscles use up more calories than fat, so less muscle means a slower metabolism and the need for fewer calories, said Dr. Medha Munshi, a geriatrician and endocrinologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.”

Walk- Stretch or Dance? Dancing May Be Best for the Brain – The New York Times

“However, one group showed an actual improvement in the health of some of the white matter in their brains, compared to six months before. The dancers now had denser white matter in their fornix, a part of the brain involved with processing speed and memory.”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

Those of us who contra dance and English country dance have suspected this from generation to generation. To learn more about these extraordinarily fun and healthy forms of community dance, I recommend the Country Dance and and Song Society website and their dance camps at Pinewoods Camp MA.
http://www.cdss.org/
David Lindsay has been a contra dance caller and morris dancer in New Haven CT for the last 40 years. You can dance with him and his friends to live music at the dances of the New Haven Country Dancers.